Online Giving Test Results - Part II

Continuing the Online Giving Experience after the Donation is Submitted

In December 2012, our Mentors gave (or tried to give!) a small donation to each of the camps with whom they work. We didn't quite reach all of the camps, but we attempted to donate online to 83 camps. The results of this test are summarized in two parts.


In this article (Part II), we review the experience a donor has after an online donation has been made. In Part I, we discussed how to get prospects to find your donation page and complete the process

Want to make your online giving process better for your users? Test it yourself! Do you receive clear confirmation online that the payment was processed? Do you receive a warm, personalized email acknowledgement and hardcopy thank you note? If you aren't confident your gift was processed, or feel the post-donation communications fall flat, get to work!

Want more best practices to help you optimize your online giving? Read our article on best practices for online giving.

In the meantime, here are some of the results from our test:


3 camps provided NO instant confirmation that the donation was processed successfully. 37 of the confirmation pages were cold/impersonal.

People are accustomed to receiving a confirmation page when they pay for something online. A simple page that confirms the payment was processed successfully is the minimum standard. Most online giving services allow organizations to customize this page to include a warm, personal thank you for the gift. This page can also include imagery or other calls to action. For example, it could ask the donor to tell their friends that they support the camp on social network sites or via email. Make sure your camp provides a confirmation page. Remember that this is the first of many stewardship communications with your online donor.

11 camps did not send a confirmation/thank you email after the gift. 29 of the confirmation emails were cold/impersonal.

58 percent of camps 

Again, people expect a confirmation email for online payments. That is the bare minimum. The email, even more than the confirmation page online, should be warm and personal. A receipt without any connection to the mission of camp misses the mark. What is the impact of the person's gift? How will it be used? Do you have a special thank you photo or video you can provide to all donors? Stewardship for the online gift starts immediately.

Camp Ramah in the Berkshires' email confirmation is a good start. It includes the camp logo and sincere thanks. It also incorporates the minimum information for tax purposes. It could go further and provide some additional imagery or some story about the impact of donations on a particular camper or family.

camp ramah donation confirmation

Many of the email confirmations were much more transactional than this one, however. The following email is representative of many camps' emails.


camp alonim 

Keep it Current

One camp provided a warm, sincere note of gratitude via both the online confirmation page and email confirmation. Unfortunately, it was from the former Camp Director…who had moved on over three years ago! Be sure to check your automated communications regularly to keep them fresh and accurate.

Don't Forget Snail Mail

Unless a donor specifically requests not to receive a hardcopy thank you note via the mail, online donors should also receive a snail mail note. Since you've already sent an email confirmation that can act as a receipt, your hardcopy acknowledgement letter can be much more personal.

For example, this Thank You Note came on a B'nai B'rith Camp Perlman card, written by the Director.

b'nai b'rith camp perlman 

Thank You Notes can be a postcard written by a camper during the summer; or a (warm, personalized) form letter with a personal signature and short note written on it from someone at camp (Director, Development Professional, etc.). Be creative. Connect emotionally.


Ongoing Stewardship

Finally, remember that Thank You is only the first step in stewarding your donor. Track your donors in your donor database and plan regular communications throughout the year to keep them connected to camp and its mission. Invite them to events; send them eNewsletters; and share the progress of both your fundraising efforts and the impact of camp on campers and staff.